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  • Author: Hironobu Sasano x
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Erina Iwabuchi, Yasuhiro Miki, Takashi Suzuki, and Hironobu Sasano

In hormone-dependent cancers, the activation of hormone receptors promotes the progression of cancer cells. Many proteins exert their functions through protein–protein interactions (PPIs). Moreover, in such cancers, hormone–hormone receptor binding, receptor dimerization, and cofactor mobilization PPIs occur primarily in hormone receptors, including estrogen, progesterone, glucocorticoid, androgen, and mineralocorticoid receptors. The visualization of hormone signaling has been primarily reported by immunohistochemistry using specific antibodies; however, the visualization of PPIs is expected to improve our understanding of hormone signaling and disease pathogenesis. Visualization techniques for PPIs include Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) and bimolecular fluorescence complementation analysis; however, these techniques require the insertion of probes in the cells for PPI detection. Proximity ligation assay (PLA) is a method that could be used for both formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue as well as immunostaining. It can also visualize hormone receptor localization and post-translational modifications of hormone receptors. This review summarizes the results of recent studies on visualization techniques for PPIs with hormone receptors; these techniques include FRET and PLA. In addition, super-resolution microscopy has been recently reported to be applicable to their visualization in both FFPE tissues and living cells. Super-resolution microscopy in conjunction with PLA and FRET could also contribute to the visualization of PPIs and subsequently provide a better understanding of the pathogenesis of hormone-dependent cancers in the future.

Open access

Kiyoshi Takagi, Mio Yamaguchi, Minoru Miyashita, Hironobu Sasano, and Takashi Suzuki

Breast cancer is a hormone-dependent cancer, and sex steroids play a pivotal role in breast cancer progression. Estrogens are strongly associated with breast cancers, and the estrogen receptor (estrogen receptor α; ERα) is expressed in 70–80% of human breast carcinoma tissues. Although antiestrogen therapies (endocrine therapies) have significantly improved clinical outcomes in ERα-positive breast cancer patients, some patients experience recurrence after treatment. In addition, patients with breast carcinoma lacking ERα expression do not benefit from endocrine therapy. The androgen receptor (AR) is also expressed in >70% of breast carcinoma tissues. Growing evidence supports this novel therapeutic target for the treatment of triple-negative breast cancers that lack ERα, progesterone receptor, and human EGF receptor 2, and ERα-positive breast cancers, which are resistant to conventional endocrine therapy. However, the clinical significance of AR expression is still controversial and the biological function of androgens in breast cancers is unclear. In this review, we focus on the recent findings concerning androgen action in breast cancers and the contributions of androgens to improved breast cancer therapy.